I was just wondering if you could cast some light on the importance of
formal learning outcomes. You mentioned yourself that you found it surprising
that they had such a strong effect; I was quite surprised to see this as
well. Why do you think that is, because people get pay increases or promotional
The easy explanation is that those who haven't learned couldn't transfer.
What was also a remarkable finding was that learning also had a strong
effect on the trainee's motivation to transfer. That was perhaps even more
surprising than its effect on transfer outcomes. Trainees who believed
for themselves that they had learned more were also more motivated to use
What about the context of training: you briefly talked about the design,
but does the Dutch context come into this at all? Or would your study compare
directly with a study of a similar design carried out in Britain or France
or anywhere else? Did you specify in your investigation what kind of training
the trainees had undergone?
In fact, for each of the four training programmes which we included in
the study we made different questionnaires, so the learning and transfer
outcomes were really based on these training programmes.
And the literature which you evaluated in your study - did they go into
any national specifications or were they just based on the Dutch context,
taking this for granted?
There was very little, I only found one or two Dutch studies, most in the
theory part was American or English literature.
I think the trainees perceive training very differently today than the
way they did 30 or 40 years ago. There's really an economic climate of
the last five to eight years - I don't know about the Netherlands, certainly
in the United States - it's much more competitive and much less assured
that you keep your job. so if you go to training you will be expected to
show something, or if you fail to, in the next round of cuts, you may be
out of employment.
What I can say is that most of these organisations were willing to cooperate
in our research because they didn't do any kind of transfer measuring.
So what they wanted to know was whether these training programmes were
actually effective. I was able to offer a little bit of insight, but I
don't really imagine these trainees will be judged by the extent to which
they applied what they had learned - they more or less were expected to
take part in the training programme without looking at actual differences
in job performance.